Monthly Archives: October 2011

Lessons from my Chocolate Lab

Laughter is such a healthy and stress reducing activity. Whether one has Parkinson’s disease or not,  laughter has healing properties. It is so easy to stress over something that we ought to laugh at instead. My Chocolate Lab, who is now 3 years old, has taught me so much. I thought that I might share.

Lessons from my Lab:

1. There is always time to play. Work is important but so is play.

2. A ball is more than a toy. A ball can unite the world. When we play fetch both of us are focused on one singular purpose. We understand one another. We are linked in the experience. All the stresses and worries fade and it is just us and the ball.

3. When you’re cute,  you can get away with a great deal more than the less attractive.

4. Too much of a good thing like, water, grass,  anything on the sidewalk, anything you wouldn’t even dream of eating, and anything you know you shouldn’t eat, probably isn’t that good for you.

5. Lab means “vacuum” in Latin, I think.

6. “Cookie” and “come” mean the same thing.

7. “No” doesn’t apply to Labs.

8.  What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.

9. Furniture makes a great napkin.

10. If I make you laugh then that means I get another chance to try your patience.

11. Everybody wants to pet me.

12. I don’t discriminate. I bark at the UPS man, the FedEx man, and the mailman.

Support Groups Are What You Make Them

There is no denying that Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an awful and debilitating illness that makes life much more challenging. Sometimes, whether we like to admit it or not, we need help. A support group can be an excellent way of receiving the help that you seek.

As someone who used to shun support groups, I decided that I would develop my own style of group. I wanted a group where patients and care-partners could come and feel empowered and educated. A support group should not leave you feeling helpless, alone, or without hope. Our group shares information about new developments in the world of PD as well as what is working and what isn’t working. Often, group members suggest  something to try or a tweak that maybe those seeking a suggestion hadn’t considered. In my mind, this is the model of the kind of support group that can really benefit both patient and care-partner.

Here are some suggestions to starting a support group that can empower your participants:

  • Educating others and giving alternatives provides an opportunity to change one’s situation for the better.
  • Maintaining a positive and hopeful spin on your meetings not only keeps the meetings upbeat but can make for a more united and cohesive group.
  • Sharing doctor information can be one of the best ways to find the right doctor or neurologist for you.
  • Sometimes, just going to a support group reminds you that you have more options than you thought.
  • A support group is what the members make it. Like any group, the members  keep the group alive and with care and gentle adjustment from group leaders to keep the meetings on track, a support group meeting can be a very healing and beneficial tool to contribute to your healing.

Be Skeptical–But Stay Open-Minded

Neurologists and researchers need to step back and look at Parkinson’s disease (PD) from another perspective. I believe that even though there may be a genetic  component as well as an environmental trigger, there is an emotional , energetic, and in some cases a psychological component that disconnects with the unity of mind and body.  

For myself, after altering my thought process, learning Reiki, reducing stress, and realizing certain changes that needed tweaking, I have found myself improving over the past several years. My medication has not changed in many years but I continue to get better!

I have just returned from a conference where I had the privilege to apply the amazing energy of Reiki on 8-10 PD patients or their care-partner.  The results were amazing.

Eyes that were tired and slightly glazed over were clearer and refreshed after just a 15 minute treatment.  Many of the participants were able to relax and even fall into a deep slumber. Tremors  subsided briefly and overtaxed muscles released. These are most of  the cases of what I experienced from  several  15 minute sessions.

Skeptical? So were most of them–but when many of them left, they admittedly stated that they felt better than before the brief Reiki session. Thirteen years ago, I too was a skeptic, but from my very first Reiki session, I realized the benefit of this healing art, for myself. My body glowed and mind quieted and calmed. The simple act of gentle touch made a world of difference. No pill. No surgery. A complimentary therapy gave me my life back and continues to improve my health.

The Media and Parkinson’s Disease

I read a story from a major newspaper that gave incomplete and not entirely accurate medical advice to a reader. This is the second piece of blatant mis-information that I have seen on the Web. It bothers me when I see advice about Parkinson’s disease that leaves out vital information, quotes antiquated research, or is just plain wrong.

Use the information that you get from the media, wisely. Do some of your own investigation and see what other resources say.  See if  doctors,researchers, patients, or caregivers have anything to say about what was written or said. Just because it is in print doesn’t mean it makes it fact.  Get your medical research and information from reliable sites that are credible like associations, foundations, universities/colleges, and of course hospitals and clinics. (A brief resource list is on the right –for a start.)

It is important to weed out misinformation about Parkinson’s disease or any condition. inaccurate medical advice can be harmful. Stay informed.  That’s my opinion——this is not medical advice and I am not a doctor.


When we refuse to face the obvious or place blame where it usually is unfounded, problems germinate.  Our minds and bodies are sponges that soak up thoughts, feelings,  experiences,  visions, and impacts. Both the mind and body retain their own memory. When we fail to acknowledge or accept that we are holding on to unnecessary baggage or even garbage that may be contaminating our system,  problems begin to arise.

For those of us who deny our symptoms, illnesses, or our perspective on own personal health, we fail to realize that there are warning signs being presented.  Avoiding a warning sign, be it a tremor,  balance issues, weakness, or any noticeable change in medical condition should be a wakeup call that there is work to be done and not dismissed.

Don’t deny denial. Once you overcome denial you can address the issue or issues at hand and begin healing.  No doubt, it takes courage, fortitude, awareness, and some trust to admit that you may have an unaddressed physical, mental,  or  emotional issue to deal with.  Much of improving  our lives is discovering those issues and buffing them out–not storing them. It’s called growth.

The first step in breaking denial’s hold is taking a hard look at oneself. Don’t like what you see? Guess what? You can change it!

Accepting that you see a change, either positive or negative, is a good place to begin.  Realizing that there may be work needed, be it physical, psychological, spiritual, or a combination of modalities may be the answer to get you back to the path of health. The sooner that you can make sense of the signals that your body is sending you and not ignoring them, the sooner you can help yourself and heal.

(This is just my opinion–I am not a doctor of any kind. I’m just an English Major.)

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